There’s no doubt digital experiences have been groundbreaking this year—even amidst a global pandemic. Instead of the usual COVID-19 statement, let’s take a look at what we’ve learned and where we are now. So, when it comes to an effective email strategy you’ll be able to make practical moves to improve results.

Three key influential aspects of an impactful email strategy are send times, engagement, and content. The data gathered from this information will help you transform your email strategy as digital customer interaction becomes an evolution instead of just a new normal.

Daily Behaviors Affecting Email Send Times

Adjusting email send times is probably the most direct and straightforward way to adapt your email strategy to be more COVID-friendly. Since there are already more than 3.9 billion email users daily (Statista, 2020), the changes in email user routines brought on by continued lockdowns are staggering. Many people are continuing to work from home, learn from home, and interacting with each other through these digital channels more often.

These daily routines have pivoted the way we read and interact with emails. Reading emails outside pre-COVID times is another new normal for digital marketers. According to Campaign Monitor, the best days to send an email during COVID-19 are Mondays and Fridays, with an average of 22% open rate. Prior to the pandemic, Tuesdays and Thursdays were the ideal days to send a marketing email.

These averages will vary according to industry, audience, and email sending platform, too. It’s also a great idea to examine your email performance and compare it to current benchmarks, so you can adjust to these fluctuations. Using tools like MailChimp’s optimal send time feature provides valuable insight. A key shift in customer behavior has occurred, and the key to optimizing email send times is awareness of your customer’s daily behaviors.

Email Engagement on the Rise

Engagement is an essential part of effective email strategies. We know that consumers’ daily habits have changed, and since many people are opening more emails we want to ensure they’re engaging with them, too.

In the last 12 months, 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement (Not Another State of Marketing, 2020). Increased engagement means there should be more focus on optimizing emails to avoid SPAM traps like increasing opens, click-throughs, and click-to-open rates. The data is consistently telling us that email engagement rate is growing.

Average open rates have increased to 21.2% from 17% and click-through rates have increased from 3.10% compared to 2.5% (Campaign Monitor). Better management of segmentation unsubscribes, and data quality will put you on the right path to more engagement.

Additionally, take a look at how often you send emails. Depending on industry and messaging, your audience may want to hear from you more often. For example, if you’re a DIY equipment renter, you might engage with your customers more since they’re spending more time on home improvement projects. For an office software supplier, maybe you want to consider adding more usage tips to your email content.

Essentially, spending time and resources to connect with your customers and their habits during the pandemic will pay dividends as email engagement continues to grow.

Connect with Relevant Email Content

Another change that we’re currently tracking in addition to email users’ routines and increased engagement is audience attention and interest. You want to create a deeper connection with your customers. So, a shift in content and tone during the pandemic can help optimize connection to your brand.

For example, financial service providers can tailor their messaging to debt relief or loan options. In this case, content focused on budgeting may win you favor and grow loyalty, too. For telecom companies adjust messaging and content for increased internet speeds for work and learn from home folks as well as content about managing online education for parents. In times like these, customer loyalty is a premium investment. A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10% (Murphy & Murphy, 2002).

Due to the pandemic, audiences may have more time and attention to read longer emails. So consider testing content length. If you’re sending out an event invite, be sure to add instructions to improve a user’s experience since traditional face-to-face events are moving to virtual. Enhanced guidance and detailed information will go a long way to convince people to attend.

If your organization focuses on the customer, then evolving your content will help you create a sincere connection with your audience. Utilize in-tune customer-centric email content that will strengthen those relationships. This sound approach to your strategy during this time will draw them closer to your brand.

Foster Relationships with Your Customers

Even though daily habits have changed in the midst of this pandemic, your base strategy doesn’t have to do a 180. If you’re agile and pivot regularly with the three influential aspects of send times, engagement, and content you can quickly increase results. However, establishing a strong email strategy for your brand that centers around your customers is the first step, and knowing your audience well will make adjustments more impactful.

Take advantage of the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, but always stay true to your brand. Make your digital customer interaction valuable and utilize ways to build stronger relationships with positive results, evolving with the changing customer landscape.